Dr. Dennis Gross, a New York City board-certified dermatologist, gives tips to consumers for how to recognize and treat different conditions caused by protective COVID-19 coverings such as masks or face shields.

Dr. Gross says, “There are two main skin conditions caused by protective face coverings: maskne and what I have coined as maskitis. While they may appear similar on the surface, they are actually two very different skin reactions. And most importantly, they require two different treatments.”

Pictured: maskitis

Maskitis is often confused with maskne, which is acne that forms around the mouth and nose caused by COVID-19 protection such as face masks or shields. Conversely, maskitis is a skin rash, marked by small bumps, redness, inflammation and dry, flaky skin. Noting the difference is important because misdiagnosis can lead to further skin irritation.

“I have seen countless patients come into my practice thinking they have maskne when they actually have maskitis. For treatment, they are reaching for acne products which is causing further irritation and inflammation,” Dr. Gross says. “Instead, they need a product that is soothing, decreases inflammation and rebalances skin. I recommend looking for products with superfoods, adaptogens and niacinamide.”

Pictured: maskne

Those who are prone to eczema and dermatitis are more likely to develop maskitis while those with oily or acneic skin are much more likely to experience maskne.

“It’s important to note that all have our unique genetic predispositions for conditions. Some people are more likely to develop maskne while others see maskitis. It is not a one size fits all situation,” Dr. Gross says. “In my practice, I am seeing more and more patients come with maskitis – however they are commonly mistaking their condition for maskne. Correctly identifying which of the conditions is key to selecting products to treat your concern.”

Wearing a mask is necessary to protect from COVID-19, but there are clinical skincare options that will help alleviate symptoms and rebalance skin.

The top recommendations for treatment from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare are B3 Adaptive SuperFood Stress Rescue Super Serum for maskitis and DRx Blemish Solutions Acne Eliminating Gel for maskne.


Board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon Dennis Gross, M.D., founded his practice in 1990 after completing his residency at the New York University Medical Center. With a deep interest in skin that is healthy as well as beautiful, Dr. Gross has executed extensive research at prestigious institutes, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering, on melanoma. His research on skin cancer has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Experimental Medicine and Journal of Medical Microbiology.  Dr. Gross’ affiliations have included the Skin Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society, as well as the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Dermatological Surgery and Oncology, the American Medical Association, and the New York Dermatology Society.